Talk Plain
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Fifth in the Rosemary series; Mal tells Rosie about Jayne and Zoe, courtin'.


"Your Mama an' Papa did everythin' backwards-like, real ass-over-endtable, dong ma?" Mal told Rosie, settling on the edge of her bed and toeing his boots off. "First you was born, then they got hitched, then they started courtin'. 'Course that sorta made sense, in a way, you bein' born first, since you weren't really his get," he explained, "but usually a man gets to courtin' a lady 'fore he up an' marries her."

"You ever courted a lady, Baba?"

"Once upon a long time ago," Mal said, frowning. "But that ain't none of yours. You wanted to hear about your Mama an' Papa."


"What's li'l Kaylee got a bee in her bonnet about?" Jayne asked, coming into the cargo bay. "The doc finally cough up for a ring?"

Mal smirked, shifting a wriggling Rosemary from one hip to the other. "We ain't but just made landfall an' already there's some boy bangin' on the bay doors with an armload o' flowers."

Zoe made a scoffing sound, but Jayne could see in her eyes that she wished she had someone to buy her flowers. A knowing grin almost slipped onto his features, but he stopped it in time.

"Fine, go to Papa," Mal said with irritation, handing the squirming child to Jayne.

"Well," he said, clearing his throat when his voice nearly came out in a chuckle. "Who they for?"

Zoe stared at him. "Ain't it obvious? The doc bought Kaylee flowers."

"No, I didn't," Simon said, stepping off the stairs and looking confused. "No, really," he protested when Kaylee launched herself into his arms. "Those aren't from me, Kaylee, I swear."

Kaylee's smile slipped. "They ain't? Then who...?" She went back to the bouquet - and it was a large, impressive one, Jayne noted with a bit of satisfaction - and searched it for a card. "They ain't even mine," she said, her smile returning. "They're for you, Zoe!"

Zoe's face went blank with surprise. "They - what? Kaylee, let me see that card." She took the card from the mechanic's hand and read it aloud. "For Mrs. Cobb, happy anniversary." She narrowed her eyes. "It ain't been near a year, Jayne. You sayin' bein' married to me's been that rough on ya?"

Jayne looked helpless. "It was s'posed to say half-anniversary," he offered lamely. "It was six months last week, but we was out in the middle of nowhere."

"Flowers are a foolish thing to waste our credits on, husband," Zoe said, a smile in her eyes but not quite reaching her lips.

"Zoe -" Jayne's explanation was cut off when Zoe pressed a nearly chaste kiss to his lips.

"That was mighty sweet of ya," Zoe said, reaching her arms out to take Rosie from him. "Why don't we go put 'em in some water so they'll last a while?"


"Six months," Zoe said, startling Jayne. He'd been sharpening his favorite hunting knife, nursing a glass of whiskey, and hadn't even heard her climb down the ladder. He slept with the hatch to his bunk open so he could hear if Rosie started fussing in the night. He looked up to see Zoe backlit by the safety lights in the corridor above, her silhouette stark against the pale glow, and he wished he had the words to tell her how she looked. It was times like these that he really regretted his lack of education. "How's that hand treatin' ya?"

Jayne snorted. "You come to taunt me, wife? Ain't fair, y'know." He realized maybe he'd had too much to drink when the next words from his mouth were, "I gotta look at ya all day long, knowin' I can't touch ya, ain't that torture enough?"

"Who said ya can't?" Zoe asked, closing the hatch. "We're married, ain't we?"

Jayne was just liquored enough that he couldn't come up with any comment to that, witty, crude or otherwise. "Zoe..."

"Women got needs too, Jayne," she said softly. "If you don't like me comin' to ya as your wife, what about me comin' to ya as a friend?"

"Mal ain't available?" Jayne grumbled.

"Mal's keepin' a ear out for the little one," Zoe said. "You said a married man don't take to bed with none but his wife; why shouldn't I show you the same respect?"

Jayne looked at her. "I don't deserve none o' your respect, Zoe. I never done nothin' in my life to deserve a woman such as yourself."

"I can think of at least one thing you done demands a hell of a lot of respect," she said, looking pointedly at the ring that sparkled even in the dim light. "Not many men woulda stepped up to help me an' Rosie out like you done."

"Mal woulda."

"Mal didn't." Zoe knew she had a point, and Jayne was just drunk enough to admit she was right without much fight, but she didn't expect what he said next.

"Mal's a fool, then, 'cause any man with a lick o' sense could see he'd be one lucky huai dan to have you an' Rosie to call his own, even if words is just words." Jayne took a deep breath. "I ain't gonna say no, Zoe, it's been a long time an' there ain't nobody I'd rather take to my bed than you. I just pictured it different is all. I been tryin' to court ya, see?"

Zoe smiled a rare smile, the kind that reached not just her lips or her eyes, but both. "The flowers," she said, nodding. "I did say as it was sweet."

"I didn't expect flowers would have ya fallin' into my bed, Zo, gimme a little credit. I had all sorts of stuff planned. Ask River, she'll tell ya. She was helpin' me write a..." he looked pained. "a poem." A snort of laughter exploded from his wife, and Jayne looked hurt. "River's got lots of words that I ain't got," he said defensively. "Words that tell ya you're pretty but that sound pretty too."

"I ain't no high-class Core lady," Zoe said, moving closer to where he sat. "It don't take fancy words to woo me. Just talk plain."

Jayne looked perplexed. "Ain't I been?" he asked, looking mildly confused.

Zoe kissed him, and this time there was nothing chaste about it.


"An' after the gorram flowers, I kept findin' 'em makin' kissy faces everywhere," Mal said with a look of mock disgust. "Always with the smoochin', those two."

"Babaaaa," Rosie laughed. "That ain't so. Tell it right."

Mal frowned. "That's all you get for tonight. I'll tell ya the rest in the mornin'. Goodnight, sweet Rosemary."

"Night, Baba."


Thursday, February 16, 2006 2:52 AM


Beautiful, I'm loving this series.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 4:00 AM


Sweet addition to the series! Who'd'a ever thunk Zoe/Jayne could be this cute?

Looking forward to the morning story.

"I love my captain."

Thursday, February 16, 2006 7:09 AM


Love this, Mal is so good with little Rosie and I *sored* Jayne wanting to court Zoe and do it properly. Very fine, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, March 5, 2006 4:19 AM



"She was helpin' me write a..." he looked pained. "a poem." A snort of laughter exploded from his wife"
*snort of her own* poem.



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Fifth in the Rosemary series; Mal tells Rosie about Jayne and Zoe, courtin'.

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An AU in which Zoe sacrifices her life for Wash... and he must learn to move on.

How I Soar Chapter 25
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